Public Radio International to Stop Distributing ‘This American Life’

Ira Glass of "This American Life."

After 17 years, Public Radio Intl. announced March 20 that it will end distribution of one of its most popular shows, “This American Life.”

The Ira Glass-hosted program, which has been distributed by PRI since 1997, has a weekly audience of 2.2 million listeners and runs on 587 public radio stations in the U.S.

“During our most recent negotiation, it became clear that our organizations’ expectations regarding our futures were different,” said PRI executive Julia Yager in a statement.

“This American Life” will continue production and will soon announce plans for distribution, according to the release, despite not having a partner in place.

“We don’t comment on confidential negotiations, so I can’t comment on any aspects of our conversations,” Yager told Variety.

“This American Life” will be available for public stations to broadcast, according to Yager.

The show will end its relationship with Public Radio Intl. on July 1.

Based in Minneapolis, Public Radio Intl. is one of the top public radio programmers in the U.S., alongside NPR and American Public Media.

It also distributes “The World.”

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  1. ruthnilea says:

    I am totally disgusted. TAL fuels my cleaning on the weekend.

    And the show they are replacing it with disgusts me too. I hate the language used on Live Wire, I find the skits inane and the “poetry” an insult to the term.

  2. Carol Witt says:

    I just want to know how I can keep getting it without missing a single episode! I love it!

  3. David Kaye says:

    I found TAL to be consist mainly of East Coast intellectuals smugly trying to imitate Ira Glass, intellectuals with seemingly little real world experience. I stopped listening to TAL about a year ago. On the other hand, I’m a BIG Radiolab fan.

    • workavoidancelog says:

      Calling people smug in a post that reeks of smug.

      Nicely played, un-self-aware internet troll, nicely played.

      (Also, for keeping us up to date on your radio listening, The Log thanks you on behalf of a grateful nation.)

      Back to work:

  4. Calvin Gray says:

    Doesn’t it seem a little irresponsible, maybe even a clear breech of ethics, to simply run a PR statement from the distributor without bothering to contact the producers for comment? You just run one side of the story and call it a day?

  5. Their loss, some other distributor’s huge gain.

  6. “We don’t comment on confidential negotiations,” she said, right after commenting on the confidential negotiations.

  7. Geronimo Jackson says:

    I love to listen to this show. It never fails to be both informative and interesting. I listen via blog to my iPod to my car radio on long trips and I am always entertained. It would be a great loss to a lot of loyal listeners.

  8. Left Nut says:

    Who gives a Sh!T

  9. Pete R says:

    I love This American Life, but what’s a “radio.”

    • Jim Duley says:

      Hasn’t the “what’s a [insert 20th century ubiquitous technology]?” thing died out yet? Ignoring for a moment that radio is still relevant, why would people broadcast their ignorance of the past? “What’s an abacus?” “Who’s John f. Kennedy?” “Where’s the Holy Roman Empire?”

  10. Chris says:

    I do listen to TAL oft on the radio. Mostly, I drive around a lot for work and love listening to the broadcasts. Yes, I do indeed have many Podcast TAL on my phone, but most always would rather listen on the radio.

  11. P.G. says:

    Gail: it’s not a loss. Very little is going to change. You’ll be able to listen to it for free, probably even on the same radio stations you did before.

  12. Calvin Gray says:

    So what this actually means is that This American Life got a better distribution offer from NPR, and gave PRI the “It’s not you, it’s me” talk. But PRI, to salve its wounded pride, jumped out in front of TAL’s announcement to tell all their friends that is was totally PRI’s decision to break up.

  13. AndrewN says:

    Marketplace is actually distributed by American Public Radio, not PRI.

  14. Gail Appelbaum says:

    What a shame. We are big fans of NPR and love the show and Ira Glass. It will be a loss of many of us supporters.

    • This American Life is not on NPR. Never was.

      • This American Life is on public radio. Since so many public radio stations get their content from NPR, it is a reasonable mistake for people to make if they consider their local public station and NPR interchangable. People sitting in traffic probably have no idea what PRI is. I don’t think snottily, priggishly stating “TAL is not on NPR. Never was” is helpful unless you have a small penis and need to compensate.

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